Joe Tucker is mailing out tax bills early, so Jackson County homeowners will begin seeing them in their mailboxes soon after Dec. 1.
It may not feel like a Christmas gift. After all, it’s a notice to pay your taxes.
But because Tucker, the Jackson County tax collector, is getting the notifications out early, homeowners have the option of paying their property taxes before Jan. 1 and then using them as a deduction on their income taxes in April.
It’s one of those delayed-gratification type gifts if you’ve got the extra cash this time of year.
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Since he took office years ago, Tucker has worked to get the property tax bills out a month before the end of the year, so homeowners and businesses can have that option.
Property owners who pay their taxes as part of their monthly loan payments to a mortgage company or bank won’t get a statement. Their taxes are already collected in escrow.
Tucker warns if you have a mortgage escrow and you get a statement, check with the mortgage holder right away. There may be something wrong.
These bills are for taxes on property from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016.
Tucker sent out a general notice to county property owners because there have been some changes, and some things that are just reminders:
▪ Taxes are due Feb. 1. Paying after that date incurs a penalty that gets bigger the longer it’s unpaid.
▪ Taxes can be paid with a personal check in the mail or in the office only until June 30. After that, it must be cashier’s check, money order, credit card or cash.
▪ Paying with a credit card costs an extra 2.5 percent, down from 3 percent last year.
▪ Paying with a debit card now costs an extra 1 percent, down from 3 percent last year.
▪ Pay taxes in person at the Tax Collector’s Office in the County Services Complex south of the courthouse in Pascagoula or at the West Jackson County Office on North Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs.
There is the option of paying through the county website, but that will cost the extra 2.5 percent fee.
If you still haven’t paid your taxes from last year, you must check with the Chancery Clerk’s Land Records Division, 228-769-3029, and catch up before paying 2016’s.
Anyone with questions can call Tucker’s office at 228-769-3199.